Month: February 2019

Employee Engagement Is Not a Generational Problem with Michael Beck

My knee-jerk reaction is to blame the Employee Engagement epidemic on the increase of Millennials in the workforce. Though they may complain the loudest, they can’t be fairly pegged as the culprits behind the low engagement in the workspace. Looking at the Gallup numbers around 80% of employees world-wide aren’t engaged, but the workforce only consists of about 50% Millennials. Assuming every single Millennial is disengaged (impossible) that still leaves a very large percentage of other generations that are also not engaged. Furthermore, the research behind such high disengagement in the workforce goes back well before Millennials were in the workforce. Prognosis? Employee Engagement is a workforce problem, not a generational problem.

At the end of the day, all people problems are really leadership problems. Low levels of engagement follow bad leaders. If an organization has too many of these bad leaders, they’ll find the bulk of their workforce simply isn’t engaged. To fix this problem, organizations must make sure they have better leaders leading their workforce. Leadership development is a very robust and advanced industry. The number of fixes and strategies organizations have at their disposal is truly staggering; however, one of the must effective of these strategies is intelligent promotion.

All too often, a contributor is promoted to a leadership/management role because they are good at their job. For example, the top salesman is a very likely candidate for sales manager. But does being good at selling a product mean a person will be good at leading a team? Impossible to say. There’s simply no correlation between the two. Truth be told, most individuals who excel in their field probably don’t want to be bothered by the administrative burden that comes with management. Yet, these high performers still aspire to be managers and continue to be promoted. Why? Because all too often, the pay bump from contributor to manager is too much to pass up. Paying a person more because they take on extra responsibilities is both fair and equitably, but it can also have unintended consequences. In this case, promoting an associate simply because he or she is a high performer will almost certainly lead to the creation of a disengaged team. Leadership skills are different and need to be treated differently and cultivated differently. This doesn’t mean that a high performer with no leadership skills can’t acquire those skills, but it does mean that if organizations wants to enhance the Employee Experience, they’ll need to ensure that all of their managers are trained to be good leaders.

In a podcast with Michael Beck, he brought up how leaders shape the company culture (a reflection of the Employee Experience). He defined company culture as the set of values and behaviors that an organization will tolerate. He went on to say that if leaders simply establish a set of shared values, they’ll like not find the results they want. However, if managers across all levels are actively encouraging and supporting those shared values, then the organization will become those shared values – or culture. To listen to Michael’s full podcast, visit Forging Employee Experience and to keep in touch with Michael you can follow him on twitter @Michael_Beck or visit his website. His, Eliciting Excellence, can be purchased on Amazon.

Employee Engagement is a vital metric to understanding the health of an organization. If companies want to help positively shape their employee’s work experience so that metric increases, they must make sure they are promoting individuals who are ready for leadership and enforcing values that matter.

No Excuse for Slow Moving Employee Engagement with Andria Ink

The Employee Engagement industry is filling up with software solutions that enable organizations to more quickly implement effective Employee Engagement initiatives. However, even in organizations where this software is being used, companies tend to move slowly when trying to affect change that would boost engagement. There is no excuse for not prioritizing and implementing change.

By and large, customers won’t buy in to an organization if the employees haven’t already bought in to it. If the employees aren’t having a positive experience, that energy will flow to the customers and sales won’t be as strong. However, when organizations allow their employees to have an experience that excites, customers will flock to the product (assuming the product isn’t terrible).

In a recent podcast with Andrea Ink, head of Employee Engagement at BC Hydro, we had the chance to understand how she takes the lead on building an employee experience that employees love. She works for a government-controlled agency that, while using only an annual survey, boasts 84% engagement among employees. In her company, she focuses on making sure that everyone is seen, felt, and heard. These fruits of these efforts are partly seen in the success of the employee council that connects top level management with the workforce to make sure that everyone is being heard. The result of fostering a spirit of collaboration from top level executives and employee representatives has been the creation of a company culture where employees know they have a voice and that the organization is listening.

Andrea spoke volumes about how important it is as leader to always be present to listen and observe any issues that employees may be having. She focused on the idea that leaders must always be communicating information up and down the organization. Finally, she emphasized the notion of “follow-up and follow-through.” Every leader should make sure they follow-up with the communications they have with their groups, and they must always follow through with promises and commitments.  To listen to the full podcast, please visit Forging Employee Experience. To connect with Andrea, feel free to reach out on LinkedIn.

If a government organization that only has official Employee Engagement survey once a year, can create a culture where people love to work, then so can anyone else. There is no excuse to not being quick and decisive in implementing new Employee Engagement initiatives. The employees and customers deserve the best experience.

Employee Engagement Comes From a Company’s Vision with Kevin Kruse

Boosting Employee Engagement scores don’t happen with the thoughtless purchase of more employee perks. This comes as both good and bad news for organizations looking to increase the engagement levels of their employees. On the one hand, the research shows that simply buying stuff for employees doesn’t actually move the needle. Organizations don’t need to spend huge amounts of money on perks to help engage their employees.

Unfortunately, the most effective solution is decidedly more difficult than just throwing money at the problem. Companies need to focus on converting employees to their vision.

Most for-profit organizations spend their time focused on revenue generating activities. Understandably, companies want to make sure that their resources are spent to increases shareholder value. Acting otherwise would be a disservice to stakeholders and to the customers. However, lost in the pursuit of financial strength is often the fact that employees aren’t automatically as driven to boost sales and drive down costs as top management. Employees join a company for a paycheck but stay at a company for a cause. The burden of converting employees to the company’s cause is critical to helping win the hearts and minds of the workforce and boosting employee engagement. Implicit in the idea that an organization can convert employees to its cause is that the organization actually has a cause. “Making money” or “increasing shareholder value” is unfortunately not a cause. Instead companies need to have a passionate, driving force that motivates its members to give it their all. Once that cause is established an organization can begin to rally its employees.

In a recent podcast with Keven Kruse, he mentioned that employees should be able to say, “I care about our goals.” This simple phrase carries profound meaning to an organization. It implies that an organization has established a cause with which it can inspire its employees and that those employees have internalized those goals and honestly care about reaching them. To listen to the full episode, visit Forging Employee Experience. To connect with Kevin send him an email at kevin@leadx.org. For more information about his books visit his Amazon page.

By helping ensure that employees are converted to the company’s vision, organizations create a sustainable culture that employees will never want to leave. Though difficult, the work required to convert employees will pay off exponentially. Without spending a dime, organizations can watch their engagement scores climb as they enhance their employee’s workplace experience.